Ireland's governing party inched back up to second place on Sunday in an opinion poll which also showed just over a third of voters believe the country is heading in the right direction.
Ireland has been praised by investors for pushing through some of the earliest and sharpest fiscal reforms in western Europe but Prime Minister Brian Cowen's Fianna Fail party has remained hugely unpopular throughout its deep recession.
Centre-left Fianna Fail dropped to third place for the first time in last month's Sunday Business Post/Red C poll but gained one percentage point in May to jump back ahead of Ireland's Labour party on 24 percent.
The main opposition party, centre-right Fine Gael, has been in the lead since October 2008, the month Finance Minister Brian Lenihan delivered his first emergency budget.
Labour dropped two points to 23 percent but retained most of last month's seven-point gain, meaning that if an election were to be held now, it would play a greater role in government with Fine Gael, whose backing fell three points to 30 percent.
A parliamentary election in Ireland is not due until 2012.
Some 36 percent of the 1,001 people questioned at the start of last week said the country was generally moving in the right direction, with 47 percent saying it is moving in the wrong one.
ReutersLast Mod: 30 Mayıs 2010, 17:57